Best Low-Budget/Free Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses
There’s a big difference between a business and a successful business. There are more aspects that define the difference – branding, the quality of your products and services, and most importantly, marketing.
Every small business is limited by a defined budget. If you spend it wisely, on the right marketing ideas, your performance will slowly improve.
The number one rule is to carefully implement each marketing idea until you figure out what works and what doesn’t. Since each business is unique, your target audience may respond or not respond to certain techniques. For that reason, before labeling a marketing idea as inefficient, make sure you test, analyze, measure, and optimize your approach.
In today’s post, I’m going to share 9 low-budget/free marketing ideas for small businesses who wish to take their performance to the next level. Pay attention and apply!
Set Up a Referral Program
Setting up a referral program is one of the most amazing marketing ideas for small businesses. If your customers are happy with your brand, they’ll naturally feel inclined to recommend your products and services to friends and known ones.
However, they won’t always do it because they will often forget. People are busy. If you set up a referral program that rewards your customers with free products, discounts, samples, or even a commission from their referred sales, you’ll be able to grow your business through word of mouth marketing.
You don’t have to invent your referral program structure. Take advantage of a professional referral marketing tool and build your campaign while taking into consideration your resources and goals.
Promote Your Brand on Social Media
In the world we live in, a business without a social media presence can be compared to an individual who doesn’t own an ID.
Customers are faced with thousands of advertisements each day. Considering that there are so many options out there, many potential buyers are carefully assessing the reputation of businesses in the online medium before making any purchasing decisions.
You need to build a social media presence.
Define the best social networks for your own business and your own target audience and create a professional profile that shows the value of your brand. Post and curate relevant content that actually adds value to your followers and make sure you stay consistent.
One good piece of advice would be to take advantage of social media management tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your posts automatically.
Guest blogging is one of the best techniques to improve your SEO performance and gain direct traffic to your website or social media profiles.
This is a simple technique. Find relevant blogs within your industry and look for guest posting opportunities. Some of the websites you’ll visit will present their guest blogging requirements, while others won’t mention a thing. In the latter case, you should contact the blog owner and let him know that you’d be willing to offer him free content in exchange for a backlink.
However, guest blogging is only effective if you’re managing to create high-quality content. That’s not an easy job. If you’re not a professional writer, I’d highly advise you leverage a cheap assignment help to outsource blog posts that you cannot write.
Low-Cost Influencer Marketing
You’ve probably heard about influencer marketing, but you haven’t heard about low-cost influencer marketing. Here’s the difference:
Normally, an influencer is a person who has a lot of followers and fans. I’m talking about thousands. A small influencer is an influential person that has a few hundred loyal followers in the local community. Generally, small influencers have rarely received marketing collaboration opportunities.
Make a list of 10 to 50 small influencers that you see fit to represent your brand and start contacting them one by one.
Offer them a deal. If they promote your products on their social media feeds (and not only), give them the opportunity to test your products and services for free or offer them reasonable compensation. If you gather 10 small influencers who are willing to advertise your brand, you’ll manage to create better results than if you were to collaborate with one big influencer.
Hold Social Media Contests
A social media contest is a free way to generate brand awareness and engagement. Here are some examples of social media contests:
- Have your customers post pictures of themselves while wearing/using your products.
- Offer a free product for a lucky winner (raffle).
- Have your followers tag, like, and share your posts in order to win something for free.
- Best comment competition.
- Follow to win / Like to win / Chat to win.
- Weekly/monthly draws.
Social media contests are great because they contain the word “FREE”. Most people are looking for “free” opportunities, so they’ll get closer to your brand in order to get something in return.
Well, if your content and products are highly qualitative, it won’t matter if your contest participants aren’t winning a thing because you’ll be able to capture their attention and interest through other things.
Study Your Competition
Studying your competition is absolutely necessary if you want to properly position your small business in the marketplace. By paying attention to your main competitor’s strategies, branding, products, and problems, you can figure out what needs to be done in order to create and implement the best marketing approaches.
Develop an Email Newsletter
Email marketing is an effective way to develop and nurture customer relationships. Everything you do takes away resources (time, money, attention, energy). Whenever you create a marketing campaign, you need to ensure that you’re getting the best ROI (return on investment) for the effort you put in.
If your prospects visit your social media channel or website once, only to leave and never return, you’ve wasted your resources.
However, if you manage to make your visitors sign up for your newsletter, you’ve just got a potential customer who may buy in the future. Creating an email list is one of the best ways to reduce your expenses and optimize your sales. Why?
Because people don’t buy from businesses. They buy from people they trust. When your prospects are making the first contact with your brand, you are a stranger to them. They are the “cold leads”. However, as you deliver useful content, your cold leads will quickly turn into “warm leads” that will soon be ready to buy.
Most marketing experts like Neil Patel use convertkit for their email marketing campaigns. Convertkit has drag and drop tools that will ease your marketing campaign.
Optimize Your Content for the Search Engines
If you create content for your social media profile, website, or/and blog, you should definitely consider SEO. You can write an article, or you can write an SEO-optimized article. The difference is huge if we’re talking about the long-term perspective.
If you start optimizing your content for the search engines, you’ll be able to create a stable source of passive traffic. That is FREE traffic that keeps coming for as long as your content stays on top of the search results.
Forum and Q&A Marketing
Find relevant forums in your industry and create a business profile and start posting relevant replies whenever you get the chance. Create useful threads and engage with your target audience. If the forum allows, create a signature that leads straight to your website/social media channels.
Do exactly the same with Q&A platforms. Quora, Reddit, and Yahoo Answers are excellent places to make your name known.
As you keep posting and posting, you’ll soon improve your brand’s awareness and reputation. Once you manage to establish your position in those forums/Q&A platforms, leave useful links and product recommendations as you publish replies. Nobody will perceive it as aggressive marketing as long as you’re truly providing value.
Small business marketing is a fine art. It gets better with practice and experience, and the more you implement the higher your results will be. As you manage to get results from low-budget marketing techniques, you’ll build enough confidence to invest more in order to scale more.
Every mentioned marketing idea can be scaled. You can invest in professional tools, freelancers, advertising, and lift your results up until you’re satisfied. Take today’s advice into close consideration and put it all into implementation as soon as possible.